Celebrating 300 years

Eight days after celebrating his 100th birthday Cyril McGibbon was installed as Worshipful Master of one of the oldest lodges in the Province of West Lancashire - the Lodge of Perseverance No.155.

This lodge, which meets in the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in the centre of Liverpool, dates from 1803 and has several unique traditions, one of which is that the only guests to the installation are invited by the new Worshipful Master. It was also the first time that any member has served as Worshipful Master on two occasions.

To mark this extraordinary occasion this tradition was broken and an open invitation issued for the first time in the lodge’s history. The membership of this venerable lodge is restricted to 25 brethren and the fact that there were 125 attendees, 23 members and 102 guests gives testimony to the high regard and affection felt by the Freemasons of West Lancashire for Cyril McGibbon.

An inspection of the Masonic year book will immediately show the calibre of the members, which includes a large number of Grand Officers many of whom have held high acting Provincial offices as well.

Indeed Cyril’s Masonic CV is very impressive. He was initiated in 1951 into his mother lodge University Lodge of Liverpool and was installed as its Master in 1964. In 1970 the then Provincial Grand Master, Sir Knowles Edge Bt recognised his qualities in appointing him as Provincial Senior Grand Warden  Barely had Cyril relinquished that position when he was appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Master an appointment that he held from 1973 to 1987, a run of 15 years continuous service. Prior to this Cyril became a joining member in 1971 of Lathom Lodge No 2229 and Setentia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755 and then in 1974 joined The Lodge of Perseverance, becoming Master of this lodge for the first time in 1976.

The calibre of the members of Lodge of Perseverance would eclipse most meetings but this evening the calibre of the guests has exceeded that of the members. Principal guest was Howard Jones (Deputy Provincial Grand Master) accompanied by Colin Wright (Past Provincial Grand Master), Brian Gillbanks and Michael Hill, both of whom are Past Deputy Provincial Grand Masters and four Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Phil Gunning ,Tony Bent, Tony Harrison and Roy Skidmore. It should also be pointed out that another tradition of the Lodge of Perseverance is that all members and guests, no matter what their rank, are clothed in Entered Apprentice aprons.

After opening the lodge the Worshipful Master Robert Hall greeted the principal guest and proffered the gavel which was immediately returned. The normal business of the lodge was conducted during this part of the ceremony the lodge was introducing a joining member. Once the business was transacted the only Entered Apprentice retired and the lodge was then opened in the Second Degree.

The Master elect, Cyril McGibbon, Past Senior Grand Deacon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire was the presented by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Moore to the Installing Master Robert Hall who, after congratulating  Cyril on his election to Master elect proceeded with the installation ceremony. Having been installed in the chair of the worthy lodge in a very dignified manner by his predecessor Cyril was then invested with the Hall Stone Jewel of the lodge. As is customary an explanation of the origin and meaning of the jewel was delivered, on this occasion by John Price.

On completion of the ceremony of installation Howard then rose to deliver the congratulations and thanks of the Provincial Grand Master to Cyril which on this occasion took the form of a personal letter expressing his profound regret at being unable to attend the installation ceremony in person.

Before closing the lodge Cyril took the opportunity to thank the members for all their work and the multitude of guests for their support. He also informed the gathering that he had received 91 cards on his birthday which were decorating his dining room, at least until the end of the month! With such a large number he was unable to reply to them all but as a larger number of senders were present, he thanked them verbally.

The lodge was then duly closed and although there is no formal recession normally, all stood to allow the new master to retire first. The assembly were then transferred to the dining room where after the drinks were served an excellent meal was served by the hotel.

Another tradition of this lodge is that there are only three formal toasts and no others, yet another tradition  was a casualty of this special evening when the Installing Master then with a few short words proposed a toast to  the health of the newly Installed Worshipful Master. Cyril was then called upon to respond which he duly did. Citing some of the founding principles of the Lodge of Perseverance he concluded by thanking all the members of the lodge for their hard work, in particular the lodge's Director of Ceremonies, Sidney Ford, and his wife who had manufactured 70 extra white aprons for the occasion. He also thanked all the brethren for making a special day unforgettable. On taking his seat all those present rose and gave a prolonged acclamation to a very special man and Freemason.

On the 28th May 2012, W Bro Terence Osborne Haunch celebrated 70 years of being a mason

The occasion was marked by a lunch at the Longmynd Hotel, Church Stretton where Terry was presented with not one but two 70 year Certificates. The forty guests, including five present and past Provincial Grand Masters, heard of a remarkable man and a Masonic journey which led him to a career at Grand Lodge.

RW Bro Robin Wilson, Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire, into whose Province WBro Terry was initiated in 1942, presented their certificate first. RW Bro Peter Taylor, Provincial Grand Master of Shropshire then presented a certificate on behalf of the Province to which Terry moved in 1996.  He then detailed Terry’s extensive Masonic career including the many Orders of which he is a member, and remembered his time as a Prestonian Lecturer.

Terry was initiated into Vernon Lodge No.1802 together with his brother Douglas in the midst of the Second World War. He soon found himself on a troop-ship ending up in Khartoum.   It was there three years later that Major TO Haunch, following a conversation with a brother officer and Mason, took his 2nd and 3rd degrees.    Terry recalled trying to give proofs that he had been initiated and luckily still had the receipt of his dues to Vernon Lodge which his father sensibly suggested he take with him just in case!

After the war Terry qualified as an Architect and worked in local government.  A big change beckoned and in 1966 his place of employment became Great Queen Street.  After 6 years as Assistant Librarian Terry was appointed Grand Lodge Librarian and Curator of the Museum where he distinguished himself for ten years until his retirement in 1983.

W Bro Terry moved to Church Stretton in 1996 to be near his family.  His brother lived next door to W Bro Frank Stewart, a member of Caer Caradoc Lodge and Chapter No 6346, and not long afterwards Terry found himself a joining member of both.  He is also a member of the Shropshire Installed Masters Lodge No.6262.  Terry’s academic background did not go unnoticed and he soon became a mainstay “lecturer” around the Province and beyond, especially in demand to give talks when a Lodge or Chapter did not have a Candidate.  What a privilege it was to hear those talks because the range and depth of Terry’s Masonic knowledge is profound. Visitors to his house were also aware that Terry keeps his own not inconsiderable Masonic library there, and he has been a constant source of information, encouragement and advice to Shropshire’s Masons ever since his arrival there.

Now 94 years of age, Terry has understandably had to curtail his Masonic activities somewhat but he remains in reasonable health and we hope for many more years of his fellowship and perhaps another certificate!

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:03

Ansdell Lodge celebrates its centenary

A warm sunny June day heralded the long awaited arrival of the centenary meeting of Ansdell Lodge No. 3607 on Tuesday 19 June 2012 at the Palace, Garden Street, St Anne's

Following a strenuous rehearsal under the direction of Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies Keith Kemp, the new team were licked into shape, and afterwards, Ansdell Lodge members gathered for a souvenir photograph in the lodge room.

The 5pm start was strictly adhered to and 137 brethren gathered to celebrate this historic landmark occasion, one hundred years to the day since the consecration. Worshipful Master David Randerson proudly opened the meeting of the lodge, following which the dispensation was read.

The Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp, then entered the temple and informed the brethren that Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master stood outside the lodge and demanded entrance. David said he would be pleased to receive him and Howard accompanied by a full strength Provincial team of the new acting officers then entered the lodge room in a magnificent and colourful procession on their first official duty since their appointment at Provincial Grand Lodge in May.

David offered Howard the gavel, which he accepted and occupied the WM’s chair. Howard then outlined the reasons for the meeting and asked the Provincial Grand Secretary, Geoffrey Lee to read the centenary warrant and explain the centenary jewel, following which he presented the warrant and first Jewel to WM David Randerson. The brethren were then given permission to wear their centenary jewel.

Howard then called upon the Deputy Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst to give an Oration (his first in his new office). Godfrey related a recent visit to the cinema which told the story of the journey of life through the eyes of seven retired people in the film the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Godfrey related the 100 years of change the members of the lodge had undergone to the story in the film.

The ceremony then took an unexpected turn when Howard asked Keith to place John Porter the lodge Directors of Ceremonies in front him and following a short history of John’s masonic CV and an outline of his attributes and  sterling work for the lodge and the group, Howard promoted John to the high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, which was greeted with acclamation from the assembled Brethren.

Next followed a prayer of rededication led by Godfrey and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Howard returned the gavel to David who thanked Howard for his attendance and handed him a cheque for £3,607 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity which was greeted with enthusiastic acclamation by the brethren.

John Porter then gave a short history of the lodge from its beginnings in June 1912, outlining the important work of the early founders in establishing strong foundations for its future and wound up the proceedings by presenting five of the original founders jewels to the WM the sixth being in the Grand Lodge Museum in London.

The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession. The lodge was then closed in due form and the brethren also retired from the temple.

The festivities continued at a sumptuous festive board where the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in referring to the early years of the Lodge, emphasised how important it was to recognise at a meeting such as a centenary the efforts and work put in by our forebears, referring to in particular the sacrifice made by former Ansdell Lodge member Graham Parrish, who joined the RAFVR during the Second World War and died whilst attempting to save the life of a fellow crew member after their bomber crashed at Khartoum Airfield. He was awarded a posthumous George Cross for gallantry.

In reply to the toast to the lodge David thanked everyone for attending, and he made a special mention of the presence of our well-loved Past Provincial Grand Master, Colin Wright who through recent ill health had been absent from most Masonic occasions, but was on the road to recovery.  He thanked the working party consisting of Stuart Thornber (Centenary Chairman), Robert Bentwood (Secretary), John Burgess (Treasurer) and John Porter (DC). David also made reference to the excellent work of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp and all the new acting Provincial officers. He concluded in the knowledge that Ansdell Lodge was in good heart and looking forward to the future with confidence.

A wonderful day filled with reflections and memories of the workings and traditions of the past, and a belief in a future which held good to keeping those traditions whilst embracing the changes necessary to sustain a happy confident and vibrant lodge.

Friday, 15 June 2012 01:00

Grand Secretary's column - Summer 2012

Her Majesty The Queen received from His Royal Highness The Grand Master, on our behalf, a message of loyal greetings and congratulations on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. Sixty years is a fantastic achievement, equalling Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897 when His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was Grand Master. Let us not forget that Her Majesty is the daughter of a famous Freemason and Past Grand Master, the late King George VI.

Freemasons have consistently remained devoted and loyal to her Majesty throughout her reign. A great example of this, for any one of you who has attended meetings in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall, is when up to seventeen hundred members sing the National Anthem with gusto. You cannot fail to be deeply moved.

The Grand Master, in his speech at the Annual Investiture at the end of April, explained why transparency is critical for Freemasonry and urges an active spirit of openness. You can read the full speech in this issue and see where The Grand Master picks up the theme of our two recent firsts. One was the commissioning of the first ever report by an independent third party on the future of Freemasonry, which was the catalyst for the second of our two firsts, namely the first ever media tour that I was given the privilege of conducting.

The theme is continued in two more articles where our public relations adviser explains how we have gone about changing the minds of the mass of people who have deep-rooted misconceptions about the myths that still surround us. If we want our families to be proud of us being members and if we want to show we are a relevant organisation to join, every effort must be made for these misconceptions to be got rid of.

This is followed by an article on what it was like to be on the ‘front line’ with the media – the Grand Secretary being interviewed around the country. Interestingly, I was hugely encouraged by the positive reception I received.

These examples are a true reflection of our respected magazine being the official journal of the United Grand Lodge of England. Apart from the clear benefit of reading what our leaders are thinking and the initiatives we are undertaking to ensure our long-term survival, be assured that all editorial is selected by senior and experienced Freemasons, who are renowned experts in masonic matters and news editing. The only non-masons involved deal in the commissioning of articles – after they have been selected by the editorial panel – or involved in design, printing and distribution. They too have been chosen for their recognised expertise.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Freemasonry Today. With the London Olympic Games just around the corner, we look at how Spencer Park Lodge is carrying the torch for masons who have an interest in sport and enjoy the camaraderie that Freemasonry brings. We also look back at the role that Freemasons played in the 1908 London Olympics, not just on the track but also in helping run the event behind the scenes. And for anyone not totally fixated on athletics, we find out whether Christopher Wren really was part of the Craft and how we let a hundred young people loose on Freemasons’ Hall.

I wish you and your family happy reading and an enjoyable summer.


Nigel Brown
Grand Secretary

Published in UGLE

At the suggestion of Anthony West, Chairman of the Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Fund, Tuscan Lodge, No. 14, arranged a Fellows Presentation at The Royal College of Surgeons of England in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in the presence of The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent.

The 250th Fund was set up in 1967 to support the college in making annual grants to support research Fellows, and currently there are three Freemasons’ research Fellows each year. In connection with the bicentenary of Supreme Grand Chapter in 2013, an appeal is in progress, the funds of which will be applied for a similar purpose.

Other distinguished guests included the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, Assistant Grand Master David Williamson, Grand Secretary Nigel Brown and the Grand Director of Ceremonies, Oliver Lodge.

The guests were welcomed by Professor Norman Williams, President of The Royal College of Surgeons, while plastic surgeon Professor Gus McGrouther expressed his gratitude to the masonic community for its support. Professor McGrouther explained that the college receives no NHS funding for research and that this all has to be paid for by voluntary contribution. The college supports 20 researchers annually chosen from 150 applications.

Three Freemasons’ Research Fellows gave talks. They were Vaibhav Sharma, on improving hearing through reducing scar tissue; Miss Ming He, on tissue engineering for transplantation; and Satoshi Hori of the Uro-Oncology, Hutchinson/MRC Research Centre, University of Cambridge. A member of Isaac Newton University Lodge No.859 also spoke on targeting growth factors in prostate cancer.

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 02:00

Tuning In

The Grand Secretary embarked on a nationwide media tour to dispel some myths and spark discussion about Freemasonry. Sophie Radice reports

Nigel Brown, Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, has just been on a tour the length and breath of England – not forgetting an interview with BBC Wales – that would exhaust any electioneering politician or celebrity trying to promote a new book. Over just four days, Nigel gave 40 back-to-back interviews to national and local newspapers and radio stations. 

The publication of a new independent report The Future Of Freemasonry was the catalyst to generate discussion about the role of Freemasonry in the twenty-first century, while at the same time debunking certain persistent myths about the organisation. Both the tour and the report are the first stages in the build up to the 300th anniversary of the Freemasons in 2017 and to promote a better understanding of what Freemasonry means.

Nigel found it exhausting but exhilarating, particularly enjoying the direct contact he had with the public in the regional radio phone-in discussions: ‘People still believe certain things about the Freemasons, and of course the deep-seated myth that it is a secret society with unique business networking opportunities came up many times. It was really good to be able to say: “Look, would I be doing a tour of England if it was a secret society?”

‘I was able to tell people that the only time the Freemasons ever went underground was during the Second World War when more than 200,000 Freemasons were sent to the gas chambers by Hitler because he saw Freemasonry as a threat. Seeing Hitler’s persecution of Freemasonry, particularly after he invaded the Channel Islands, and fearing the invasion of England, members became alarmed,’ continues Nigel. ‘Many of the people I spoke to on the tour were very surprised to hear this.’

Nigel goes on to explain that Freemasonry then played an important role post-war for troops returning home, many of whom wanted to be with other men who had been through the same experience. ‘Many lodges were formed during the immediate post-war period. Perhaps too many because there was such a strong need for camaraderie and because of what had happened during the war. As a result they naturally became inward looking.’

need for belonging

While the number of lodges has now levelled out almost to its pre-war period, the sense of brotherly support remains in the 250,000 members in England and Wales. Among its conclusions, The Future Of Freemasonry report states that ‘there is a timeless need for a sense of affiliation and belonging’. The report also emphasises the importance that Freemasons place on helping others.

‘The only requisite we have for joining the Freemasons is that they are people of integrity, honesty, fairness and kindness who believe in a supreme being,’ explains Nigel. ‘We welcome people of all races and religions with different social and economic backgrounds. This kind of openness, and the fact that Freemasonry is a non-religious and non-political organisation means that the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Israel is a Palestinian, and that is because the decency and morality of our members is of paramount importance.’

When Nigel told people he met on his tour that the Freemasons were the biggest charitable givers after The National Lottery, donating £30 million last year, he was met with incredulity. ‘These very large contributions come from Freemasons’ own efforts rather than from street collections or any other type of external fundraising. Because the Freemason does not ask for thanks or reward it means that very few people know about our charitable donations, even though they are on such a large scale. For instance, we are the main donors to The Royal College of Surgeons, funding much of their research and donate generously to the Red Cross. I know it seems a small thing but it is something that I am particularly proud of. We are the people that provide teddies for all children going into surgery, to comfort them in that difficult moment.’

Questions about Freemasonry rituals, rolled-up trouser legs and secret handshakes were well prepared for. Nigel explained that he had never come across the secret handshake but was glad to shed light on the rituals as a series of ‘one-act plays’ performed by members as they moved up the ranks of the Freemasons. ‘I was happy to tell interviewers and those ringing in to radio discussion programmes that there was nothing sinister about it. I think that rituals are very important to a sense of belonging and our members thoroughly enjoy taking part in these performances and memorising their lines. They provide a distinctive character to joining and moving through the ranks of the Freemasons – our aim isn’t to make Freemasonry bland but to make the public more aware of what we do.’

CHANGING OPINIONS

Even in recent memory, Freemasonry has had to deal with discrimination against members. ‘On some job application forms there was the question, “Are you a member of a secret society, e.g. the Freemasons?” We got that removed by the European Court of Human Rights, but we still have to work hard to make sure that our members are not wrongly judged, or feel that it is something they have to hide. As the report shows, our members really value the feeling of belonging to an organisation that contributes to society and is a part of their life that they can be proud of. Freemasonry is more relevant than ever – in a competitive and fragmented society it provides a combination of friendship and structure.’

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:01

Principles with imagination

HRH The Duke of Kent explains why transparency is critical for Freemasonry and urges an active spirit of openness

Our concern must be for the future, especially with the approach of our three-hundredth anniversary in 2017. In planning for this great anniversary, I believe these times demand innovation, and imaginative thinking, while retaining our principles.

In this I make no apology for again reminding everyone of the need truly to demonstrate transparency, and to work towards regaining our enviable reputation in society. To do this we have to show how and why we are relevant and to concentrate on the positive aspects of Freemasonry, in particular our generous tradition of giving to a wide variety of causes.

In regards to transparency, we still have some way to go in dispelling the myths that remain deep rooted in many people’s minds, not least the media. Very considerable progress has been made in this direction already, but challenges remain, and there is still work to do to overcome prejudices and misconception.

I am very pleased that we have already achieved two firsts of some importance in tackling this challenge. The first of these was the commissioning of the first ever independent, third party report, written by non-masons, on the Future of Freemasonry. This report has been highly successful and has itself acted as the catalyst for the second of our two innovations, namely the first media tour, conducted by the Grand Secretary.

I recommend that you all take advantage of this active spirit of openness to talk with equal frankness to your family and friends. I think that if you follow this advice, you may well be surprised by the positive reception you will gain.

I want to congratulate all those whom I had the pleasure of investing. To attain Grand Rank in the Craft is a very high accolade of which you can feel justly proud. This promotion does, however, come with an obligation always to set the highest example in standards of integrity, honesty and fairness wherever you are.

Among those I have appointed to acting office are the new Grand Chancellor, the president of the Grand Charity and the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes, and I want to take this opportunity of thanking their predecessors.

First of all, Brother Alan Englefield, who as the first Grand Chancellor, has made an invaluable contribution to bringing us closer to other Grand Lodges around the world, as well as to maintaining our position as the Mother Grand Lodge. Secondly to Grahame Elliott, who as president of the Grand Charity, as well as presiding over the Grand Charity itself, was instrumental in the successful move of the four charities into this building and thirdly, to Michael Lawson who has given a long and dedicated period of service on the board since 1988. To all three brethren we owe a considerable debt of gratitude.

Published in UGLE
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

South Down Lodge’s helicopter hero

Sixteen members of the Heal family from Sussex are in the same lodge, including former RAF pilot Marc, who won the DFC in Afghanistan for evacuating 29 casualties in his Chinook helicopter while under fire. Marc, 31, flew eight combat missions in as many days. On one occasion his helicopter’s landing site was mortared by insurgents and some of the missions took place without an Apache escort.

Somerset mason James Heal began the family connection with South Down Lodge, No. 1797, in 1963 when he moved to Brighton, followed by his five sons – all of whom went through the chair – as well as three brothers-in-law and seven grandsons.

Four of the five sons were Directors of Ceremonies, while three of the family are Grand Officers and one, Keith Schofield, is the Provincial Grand Mentor for Sussex. His uncle John was Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and later an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, while his uncle Victor was Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, both of whom – with his father – have been his mentors.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Biker backs hospital with 24-hour ride

When motorbike enthusiast Andy McGowan’s wife Sarah, a deputy sister, was admitted to Colchester Hospital’s critical care unit, he was so impressed with the staff’s dedication and kindness that he decided to raise funds for the hospital.

Andy, who is a member of United Lodge No. 697, which meets in Colchester, set out on a 24-hour sponsored motorbike ride around  Great Britain, starting at the hospital and touring Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and London, before returning to Essex.

Andy, a keen motorcyclist, and member of the newly formed Artificers Masonic Motorcycle Association (AMMA), completed the journey on his beloved Triumph Speedster.

‘The staff were wonderful and I’m so grateful that my wife is well now. The money will be used to improve the facilities for patients and their relatives,’ said Andy of his achievement.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Myths dispelled

Public relations adviser to the United Grand Lodge of England, Jessica Bondy, explains how to change the minds of 117 million people about Freemasonry

The core of the Freemason’s public relations strategy is to dispel myths. But why bother? After all, we know that as the oldest fraternal organisation in the world, masonic principles have never changed and its timeless values are as relevant today as they were three hundred years ago.

As modern Freemasons, there are two reasons in particular why you should bother. If we take as a given that the Freemasons want good press, then the first reason is that, by dispelling the myths it will help with both retention and recruitment. Secondly, it will reduce – potentially eradicate – discrimination against you.

For a communication strategy to work, it is essential to have support at the highest level in an organisation. We are at the first stage of our journey with a clear objective to both increase understanding of, and support for, Freemasonry. Critical to building a positive reputation for the organisation will be highlighting masonic openness and relevance in society today. And rather than just talking about it we have taken action to demonstrate change.

We have open websites, the highly acclaimed Freemasonry Today magazine, and a mentoring scheme that helps you to talk about Freemasonry openly. All of this will be further helped by a new leaflet designed to give people a good feeling about Freemasonry.

But more importantly, and for the first time ever, we approached a non-masonic body to produce a report for the media on the future of Freemasonry, written by an independent third party. This was a bold move, but it was essential for the media to both see this as a neutral, outsider’s perspective for credibility’s sake, as well as act as the catalyst for them to want to talk to us.

evidence not ideOlogy

The Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) in Oxford was selected competitively. It offered not only anthropological expertise, which forms much of the report’s backdrop, but also their research criteria are based on evidence and not ideology. In their words: ‘We needed to test Freemasonry’s claims for openness and transparency.’ SIRC set about compiling the views and opinions of a cross-section of Freemasons and non-masons alike. They examined the presence of, as well as need for, an element of ritual in all our lives, our need to belong, the ways we express our generosity to others, and the extent to which our everyday lives involve ritual behaviours. The result is a truly insightful and timely commentary, not just on this organisation, but also fascinatingly on the complex interactions, perceptions and values of modern society itself.

So with the report published and in our hands, and the knowledge that people really do want to know more, we took the Grand Secretary on a highly successful media tour, which was another first. We felt it important for the Grand Secretary to be on the road and truly show openness by meeting people face-to-face.

Nationally, we have also made waves. A story on BBC Online was the third most popular. The interview on one of the leading radio stations, LBC, quite literally jammed the switchboard. Combining all the media and press interviews, the reach has been to a potential audience of more than 117 million.

The report and media tour have presented a major opportunity for Freemasonry. We have to harness and build on the interest now in order to achieve the impact we deserve in 2017. If we can convert people from negative to neutral at the very least, I believe we will be making huge progress.

You can read the Future of Freemasonry report by clicking here.

Published in UGLE
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